European Software Skills Alliance

ESSA software skills project logo

Digital skills shortages are hampering the growth and competitiveness of companies across the whole of Europe.

In 2017, more than half of EU enterprises that recruited or tried to recruit ICT specialists had difficulties filling their vacancies, and the situation was particularly acute when it came to advanced digital skills required for specialist ICT positions in Software Services.

There are a wide variety of occupational profiles in the ICT sector, and with digital transformation being adopted by almost every company in Europe, ICT roles now need to be filled right across the economy, not just within technology companies. This exponential growth in the number and variety of ICT roles is creating a huge demand for highly skilled and experienced ICT professionals throughout Europe.

Although the number of skilled ICT positions is increasing rapidly, the learning pathways for many digital jobs are becoming shorter but much more specialised. This presents an opportunity for the Vocational Education and Training sector to meet the growing skills demand by delivering fast track digital upskilling programmes to the widest possible group of potential ICT employees from across the whole of Europe.

This can be achieved by the introduction of innovative approaches to digital upskilling within non-tertiary and tertiary level VET to deliver intensive and highly effective training programmes, the adoption of new digital technologies for teaching and learning to reach the widest possible target group, along with revised or reinvented occupational profiles and competences designed to focus VET programmes on delivering trained ICT specialists with the right digital skills to match the right job profiles.

Software Services is one economic sector that would benefit hugely from a new Sector Skills Strategy, with innovative VET programmes designed to match specific occupational profiles in software, creating new opportunities for people from different age groups and backgrounds to access these positions and ensuring continuous upskilling and reskilling through a lifelong learning approach.

In order to realise this opportunity, a unique Sector Skills Alliance was assembled that brings together twenty six key stakeholders from across the ICT sector to co-create a new Sector Skills Strategy for software services. The European Software Skills Alliance includes leading ICT representative bodies, software services employers, education and training providers, recruitment and career specialists, digital skills regulatory bodies and a broad selection of stakeholders and social partners from across the industry; all working together to develop, implement and disseminate a new Sector Skills Strategy that will tackle the current and future skills shortages in the European Software Sector, enabling continuous growth, innovation and competitiveness within the Industry.

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